A quarter of the House of Representatives either has not received a COVID-19 vaccine or not disclosed getting one nearly three months after congressional members began being inoculated.
Twenty-five percent of the House's members either have refused to get vaccinated, have not reported getting a shot, or are avoiding the vaccine due to medical conditions, according to Axios.
Republicans comprised the highest number of non-vaccinated House members.
"I won't be taking it; the survival rate is too high for me to want it," 25-year-old Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., said in December.
It still remains uncertain when the House can resume normal operation. The Office of Attending Physician said it still cannot make recommendations "regarding the modification or relaxation of existing social distancing guidelines."
Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., engaged in a lively discussion about reopening on the House floor on Thursday.
"Now that we have seen from reports that roughly 75% of all members in this House have had a vaccination for COVID-19, there's a strong desire to get back to a regular floor schedule," Scalise said.
Hoyer replied: "It would be a lot simpler if every member had been vaccinated."
Under current operating procedures, the House relies on multiple waves of voting that have slowed a full legislative schedule. Members currently take part in proxy voting, which extend voting sessions, and attend committee hearings remotely.
Representatives opposed to certain legislation have used procedural moves to further drag out the process. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has frequently made time-consuming but otherwise fruitless motions to adjourn. Votes can take more than three times as long as they did before the pandemic.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday asking for timelines to establish when the House will return to normal proceedings.
"Simply put: It's time that we return to regular order," McCarthy wrote. "House Republicans are eager for the chance to reopen the people's House, restore America's voice in Congress, and work day in and day out to address the many concerns our constituents face."
Congress has its own supply of the coronavirus vaccine. The Office of Attending Physician office cares for those in the House, Senate, and Supreme Court.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent guidelines suggest avoiding "large events and gatherings, when possible."
"The House continues to conduct our business in accordance with public health guidelines and in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician," Hoyer spokesperson Margaret Mulkerrin said in a statement to Axios. "The health and safety of members, legislative staff, journalists, and House employees remains paramount."
Members who have been vaccinated outside the OAP's domain have been encouraged to report their inoculations. Representatives who previously had contracted COVID-19 "are strongly encouraged to complete a full SARS-oV2 vaccination course at the earliest possible opportunity," according to the OAP.
The OAP reinstated the use of the congressional gym showers, locker room, and swimming pool on Friday evening, per a memo obtained by Axios.
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